From florals to favors, linens to dinnerware, there are many details that go into planning your wedding. But after the day has passed, how do all those decisions add up? The Green Bride Guide conducted research on the impact of special events and found that the average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of CO2 emissions. That’s an incredible amount for just one day! But what about eco-friendly wedding ideas?

Now, of course, you won’t let this information prevent you from celebrating; it’s important to celebrate the love you have for one another. But being actively aware of each planning step and its impact on the environment may have you choosing more eco-friendly wedding ideas and vendors that reduce waste significantly. This is just a start, but here are some easy ways to make your wedding eco-friendly.

Embrace Natural Beauty

Choosing a ceremony location that has its own abundance of natural beauty is key to planning an eco-friendly wedding because it minimizes the amount of décor and flowers that you’ll need to make your setting stand out. Look for a gorgeous outdoor space that provides enough potential to create the vision you have for your wedding, while still having the ability to keep all your guests comfortable. Bonus if you have a pond or creek behind your ceremony location, which adds a huge touch of magic to the scenery (and photos)!

Embracing the beauty of each portion of your venue is important, and having everything in one place can help  reduce carbon emissions for traveling. Forget hopping around town on a party bus. Find a venue that fits your day from prep, to portraits, and every moment in between!

Ditch the “Traditional” Guest Book

Don’t let others convince you what type of guest book you need. Often times, your guest book sits unsigned on a table at your wedding and never makes its way home. Instead of wasting another book from a craft store, work with your photographer on creating an heirloom guest book using your engagement photos. As your guests flip through each page of your album, they’ll interact and connect with who you are as a couple. Your love story will be brought to life before their eyes, with their presence and signature beautifully captured in a high-quality album. Instead of your guest book getting tossed in the trash a few months after your big day, it becomes an heirloom for future generations to cherish.

Reduce, Rent, Recycle

With so many disposable products available, it’s important to focus on the items in your day that can be reused. There are many wedding vendors that offer rentals instead of outright purchasing. Your glassware, cutlery, and napkins are all items that can be cleaned and reused after the wedding. And the eco-friendly factor is not the only reason to prefer renting. One of the biggest perks of renting your dinnerware is having the ability to truly customize what you want. No more having to stick with the basic options, switch it up and add a variety of color and texture to your table!

While we’re on the subject, reach out to your local suit shop and talk about renting your tux. You may not have it in the budget to buy a designer suit to walk down the aisle in, but when you rent you can have a higher quality tux for a fraction of the price.

Utilize Locally Grown Plants and Florals

Deciding on specific blooms prior to speaking with your florist can cost – in more ways than one. Requesting specific flowers may mean that your florist will have to ship them in from outside the country, adding CO2 costs, and monetary costs to your day. When talking to your florist, ask about what is in bloom locally and build your vision from there! Oftentimes they will have local floral farms that they can reach out to, or they may already have what you’re looking for in their own backyard (just check our use of a backyard mulberry tree). 

Having live plants at your wedding is a trend that we are looking forward to in 2024. From aisle to centerpieces, there are so many unique ways to add live plants. Having a variety of pots, textures, and heights can up-level so many areas of your wedding. And afterwards, those plants can even become a part of your home decor, growing with you and your marriage! If you’re not wanting to fill your house with more plants, you can give them away as guest favors or thank you gifts to close family and friends.

Set Up a Recycling Station

This may sound unmanageable, but having a recycling station is easier than you’d think. Ask your venue about providing additional receptacles for recyclable materials. Having signage at the cans will encourage guests to think about their trash before throwing it away, ensuring it goes in the right spot. You can even work with a calligrapher to make pretty signs to tie into your décor.

Think Big

When you’re working with your venue and planner on the layout of your reception, think big! Larger tables that can seat more guests reduce the number of linens, flowers, and rentals that you need. Not only is that an appealing savings, but you’re also creating a more intimate feel to your wedding day that may not have been there before. 

Vegan is a Viable Solution

Let’s face it, we’ve all been blown away that impossible meat and other plant-based substitutes taste just like the real thing. Having a vegan dinner or appetizer can help reduce your carbon emissions significantly. While it may come as a surprise to your guests, they’ll simply be raving at how delicious your food is! Many Kansas City caterers offers a range of vegan and vegetarian options, and can ensure that your table display is absolutely swoon worthy.

When All is Said and Done, Donate!

Choosing a few keepsakes and heirlooms from your wedding day is a must. But what should you do with the rest? Donate it! Signage, linen, florals, and even your wedding gown can all be donated to someone who can reuse it and make their day special. Here’s a list of places you can donate your items after you’ve tied the knot: Unexpected Blooms, Scraps KC, and Adorned in Grace.

While there are some traditions you want to keep alive on your big day, being eco-conscious should be a priority for every couple. Making minor changes to such a big day can keep our landfills smaller and our planet a lot healthier. 



COMPANY: Lauren Benson Photography

I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer. I am a lover of natural light, the way it glitters on the water and the way it makes a bride glow on her wedding day. With years of experience photographing couples and families, I love to personalize each session to ensure that we are documenting the memories that you will want to relive for generations to come.

Enjoy Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas? Ready to start finding vendors for your wedding? Check out our collection of Kansas City Wedding Vendors.